QLHS Newsletter

Letters and Emails to the Editor 2005

I have just come across your site while looking for something quite different. I will explain later. The listing for the shops has a section missing. In 1952 there was a group of shops on the South side of Hagley Road West on the corner of Clydesdale Road. Hayes the Butcher was a large shop on the corner, (they also had a shop in Bearwood). Next came Knights the grocers, then Walkers the ladies hairdresser. The one I remember best is Piper's the Green grocer. Norman Piper was my father. I spent twelve years of my early life at that address 721 Hagley Road West. The last shop at that time was a gentlemen's hairdresser, owned by a Mr.Poole. Later taken over and expanded by a Mr Cole. Further up toward Wilmington Road was the Quinton telephone exchange and immediately before that was Mr Franks the dentist. Dr Bunting also had a family doctors practice in the first house in Wilmington Road at the back of the telephone exchange. Frank Letts who is on your list had a shop closer to the Holly Bush and my father were good friends despite being somewhat in competition. Alfords the newsagent was the second shop from the corner of Walters Road. I had a paper round twice daily for just a little more than a year down the north side of Hagley Road West, Lewis Road and Shrublands Avenue. Forty Mails and five Despatches as I remember in the evening.

The reason I came across your site is that I have just been visiting relatives and returned to the Toronto area in Canada only yesterday. While in Birmingham a cousin showed me a news paper cutting relating to two German pilots being shot down during the war World War Two. The newspaper quoted the Quinton Local History Society and I was trying to find the author of that article. Not only do I remember the incident but I felt I may have had something to add. Any help you may be able to provide would be most helpful. I can assure you too that your page bought back tons of memories and I will be looking at it again.

On a slightly humorous side I was born in 1938 in what was at the time the Queen Elizabeth hospital on Bath Row Birmingham. Everyone now knows that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is now in Metchley Lane. Shortly after my birth the hospital on Bath Row became the famous Birmingham Accident Hospital. A fact that my mother assured me was purely coincidental and had nothing to do with my birth.

Kindest regards.

Mike Piper.

Former Quintonian and proud of it

I have just found your web site of Quinton, with interest because my dad Ken Field used to work for Mr Stait who owned the shoe repair shop. He worked for Mr Stait for many years. Unfortunately Mr Stait died around 1959 and dad had to change his career.

As years passed they lost contact with the family. Dad always liked his family to buy him 'Old Brum' books; one of them had a photo of the shop with his beloved BSA Golden Flash Bike on the drive he tried to get a copy of the photo, with no success.

Unfortunately Dad died, very suddenly, last November and I would love to see some of the photos John has mentioned in your newsletter site. Dad was always telling us tails of his happy day's working for Mr & Mrs Stait and their two boys Jamie and John.

Ed's comment - I managed to get a copy of the lady's father to her which she was extremely happy to receive

Dear Bernard

Thanks for the reply to my email, I was born in 1946 so that will give you the timeline. It would be 1951/52 when I started at the school. My sister is also listed, born in 1950. Doesn't time fly!

You are quite correct I am Tom's son - I assume you read his little book on local history. You probably know he is no longer with us. This has opened up some interesting correspondence!

My family and I have lived in Western Canada since 1982. So a visit to your exhibition isn't on I'm afraid! I left Quinton when we married (at Quinton) in 1970 and moved to the Bristol area then over here.

I have passed on the exhibition date (and your notes actually) to my sister who is still in UK. Whether mom still has any material that may be of use to you I don't know. She has loads of photos but I haven't looked through them with Quinton history in mind, so its difficult to comment.

I'm glad Dad's book was useful to you - he would be very pleased with that and I shall make sure mom knows when next I talk with her.

I have to get back to work now, but please keep up the communication and I shall look at the rest of the website and see if we have any old pictures here.

Best wishes from sunny Alberta

Gil Bunting

Hello again Bernard.

I have taken a quick look into our older photographs and really the oldest I would have probably go back to the late 60s. I don't know where you consider your area of interest to end. I am hoping to find a couple of shots I know I took of the motorway being built up by the Essoldo. Meanwhile my sister will be talking with Mom, but her family moved to Quinton around wartime so I don't expect to find any outstandingly old material that dad had not already uncovered.

I should say all this has prompted me to get some of my 35mm slides converted to 'modern' media before I lose them completely.

I have been feeding my nostalgia browsing the site. Nostalgia comes with age I am told. Memory was triggered by the photo of Staits shoe repair - John Stait actually made our engagement ring for us would be 1969 I think. And a good deal it was too! My maternal grandmother knew some of the family when they lived just along from her in Perry Hill Road.

Many thanks

Gill Bunting, Western Canada

Dear Mr. Taylor,

My name is Peter Arnold and I am currently researching my Wife's family in the Quinton/Oldbury/ Harborne area. One of the connections is to a Bowen family a member of which was J (Jack) Bowen who was an auctioneer and valuer at 281 Hagley Road West in 1940 and certainly still there after the war. Jack died I think sometime in the late 40's/early 50's but I cannot find a reference to this or to his family. There was possibly a sister who lived in Quinton/Harborne. I am particularly anxious to trace a link to Jack's father, John Bowen, who was born in Wales and has associations with London and Hereford. If any of your members have a recollection of Jack Bowen I would be most pleased to hear from them.

May I wish your Society and it's members continued success.

Yours sincerely,

Peter D Arnold.

Dear Mr. Taylor,

I have recently started to research my family history and have discovered that my great, great, grandfather was Edward Airey and that he had a brickworks known as Airey's Stack and was a master builder himself.

I have found your web site and have found that 3 of his children - Emily (later my great grandmother who was married to Frederick Cadby and lived at 4 Gately Road), Herbert and Annie were admitted to Quinton National School in 1876 and 1880 respectively.

I have tried several ways to contact any descendant of Edward's family but without success. My daughter very kindly bought me your Images of England Quinton Local History book quite recently and there are 2 photographs where there is a Les Airey. One on Page 78 in Fred Hobson's band and the other one on Page 121 where he is playing cards with members of the Quinton Auxiliary Fire Service. I was wondering if you could possibly tell me whether this gentleman is or was any relation to Edward or another member my Airey family. On the 1881 census Edward and his family lived in Birch Road, Beech Lanes but by 1901 they had moved to Gillot Road, Edgbaston. Mr. David Yates has contacted me and has told me that Edward built houses in Bearwood Road (now housing shops including Woolworths) and also Poplar Road, Bearwood.

I would be very grateful if you could advise me as to the best way to accomplish my quest to find out as much as I can about the Airey family.

Other family names connected to the Quinton area and roundabout are Cadby, Knight and Dearn. I came across a picture on your web site of Johnson's Outdoor. That picture brought back a lot of memories for me as I used to spend most weekends with my grandmother, Gladys Cadby of Warley Hall Road. Every Saturday night she would give me 2/6d to go to this outdoor and fetch a bottle of Lemonade and a bottle of Family Ale and then we would enjoy playing cards and I suppose my nan would give me a very weak shandy. If only my dad had have found out ! Thank you for taking time to read my mail.

Sincerely, Lesley-Ann Green (Mrs.)

Ed's Comment- If anyone can help please let me know.

Dear QLHS,

I wonder if you can help me either with information or suggestions regarding a stumbling block I have come across with my family history research.

My great, great , great grandparents Joseph Thomas, age given as 20 and a chain maker and Sarah Billingham, age given as 19 and a spinster, were married at Christ Church , The Quinton , in the District of Worcester, after banns, by Perpetual Curate Shelton/Skilton on March 16,1846.

Both are shown as resident in The Quinton at the time. Their marriage is given as number 67. Joseph's father is shown as Joseph Thomas, a collier and Sarah's father is shown as John Billingham, a chain maker. Witnesses were James Davis and Hannah Davis. I have traced Joseph and Sarah in the 1851 census living in the Dudley Wood area with their three children, Sarah, William and Joseph - and all are shown as born in Dudley Wood.

Sarah Billingham's family prior to and after her marriage, I have been able to trace back - her mother was Martha Yardley, b, Mushroom Green in 1805. Martha's parents were Samuel Yardley, born 1785 in Dudley and Mary Nicklin, b 1787 in Dudley. I have also found Sarah in the 1841 census, living with her parents in Dudley Wood. But am stumped at the moment with Joseph Thomas's family. I would like to check the 1841 census for The Quinton to see if I can find Joseph or his family there at this time. Can you advise me if the 1841 census for The Quinton has survived and if so where it is held?

Were there collieries or indeed chainmakers in the area, which could have drawn them there because of the industrial revolution?

Later in the 1800s I know both families were very involved in the Methodist movement in the Black Country on a lay basis and wonder if there may be some religious or other reason why they married in The Quinton.

Any info or suggestions would be most gratefully received

Pam Thomas

Ed's comment-Can anyone help? Jackie Hill has already sorted a few problems but please let me know if anyone else can help


I am a 49 year old, single mother living in Nashville Tennessee. My mother was raised in Quinton, England. She was a war bride and moved to NYC in the 1940's although she returned home for a short time in 1950 for my brother's birth. She has visited a few times throughout the years most recently in the late 80's due to her mother's passing but not nearly enough. Mom will be 80 on her next birthday in May 2005. She has always been and still is quite the English beauty. She pretty much raised her 6 brothers and sisters from an early age, and was forced to leave formal education before her 11 plus. Despite that, later in life she became quite the business woman and held a very prestigious job until her retirement in her 70's. She's been quite a hard act to follow.

Most of her family has passed on but she does have a brother, sister-in-law and nephew, still living there. She lived in Max Road and her name maiden name was Fenton. I know, because I spent my 16th summer at Gran's house in Max Road getting fat on fish & chips and faggots!! All my life I have heard tales of her early life there. Some were funny, some sorrowful due to the war but all were always heartfelt. If I am not mistaken I believe my grandparents ran a pub for awhile on Harborne Road during the World War Two years.

I am interested in buying this book for my mom. Is it too late for Christmas? Please tell me how to proceed. Also what does your club include? Mom does not have a computer so I am not sure the email would be a good choice for her. I will be visiting her for the holidays and can't wait to share your website with her. BTW your town has a namesake, my son, her grandson Quinton Tyler Jasko born in Nashville Tennessee April 21st 1996 . Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Happy Holidays,

Michelle S. Jasko

Ed's comment-I have sent a book to Michelle, let's hope the memories come flooding back from Nashville Tennessee


I am searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack, and I wonder if any of your members might be able to help me.

I have some love letters in my possession; they are addressed to Polly Bolus at Tettenhall, from Alfred. The only clue I have to Alfred's identity is that a letter dated 17 Dec 1886 bears the address 43 Bissel Street, Birmingham. I have looked at the census returns for 1881 and 1891 but to no avail. The dwellings seem to have an unusual numbering system, possibly tenements, and I could find no Alfred anywhere near number 43.

I would be so grateful if any of your members could suggest how I might establish his surname or if they have access to rate books or electoral roll information could try looking him up for me.

I have contacted the record office, and Birmingham Library but his name still eludes me.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Manterfield

Ed's comment-Can anyone help?

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am the new editor of an Australian country decorating magazine entitled Australian Country Collections. I am currently working on an article about the bathroom and laundry in an historical cottage in Mitcham SA. The bathroom is very luxurious and the laundry just the opposite looking just as it would have done a hundred years ago. I was searching the internet for a suitable quote to explain the drudgery of wash day to our younger readers when I happened upon Charlotte Tate's wonderful recollection of wash days past. I would like to obtain permission to use the following paragraph as a quote in my article if you would be so kind. "Monday was always washing day and what an awesome task it used to be. When I was a child I used to begin dreading it on Sunday, hating the steam-filled kitchen, the wet quarry floors and the thudding of the maiding tub". I would acknowledge the source in my article as In her recollections for The Quinton Oracle, the newsletter of the Quinton Local History Society. Interestingly the owner of the cottage I am featuring is a very active member of the Mitcham SA, Historical Society. Your permission to reproduce this quote and your earliest reply would be very much appreciated.

Kind Regards

Donna Macpherson

Editor, Australian Country Collections
Managing Editor, Quilters Companion

Ed's Comment - It is really quite rewarding to receive requests like the above

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